Monday, August 2, 2010

PathWays PA E-Newsletter - 2 August 2010

Coffee Hour with Content:
Come Network and Learn about the Need for Earned Sick Time

Did you know that 46% of workers in Pennsylvania have NO earned sick time? In other words, 2.2 million Pennsylvanians either go to work sick or risk losing their pay when ill-or their jobs!

The Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces is hosting a coffee hour where individuals can network while learning about the issue of earned sick time and current legislation working its way through the General Assembly and City Council.

Come enjoy some free coffee and a light breakfast.

WHEN: Thursday, August 12th 8:00 am -9:00 am
(You must RSVP by August 11!)

WHERE: Ballard Spahr, LLP, 1735 Market Street, 42nd Floor, Peter Mattoon Conference Room, Philadelphia, PA

To register for the event visit: http://coffeehourwithcontent.eventbrite.com (You must RSVP to attend!)

Please join the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces to give workers the ability to earn sick time to care for themselves and their families. To learn more about our efforts visit http://earnedsicktime.blogspot.com.

Federal

Urge Congress to Extend the COBRA Subsidy

Last year's Recovery Act included provisions for premium reductions and additional opportunities for health benefits under COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). COBRA health insurance coverage is available when health care is lost due to certain events resulting in the loss of employer health coverage.

Under the COBRA subsidy, eligible individuals paid 35 percent of their COBRA premiums and the remaining 65 percent was subsidized through the Recovery Act. With the 65 percent subsidy, a family paid $389 per month (on average) for COBRA. Without the subsidy, the cost to an unemployed family can be as high as $1,111 a month-far beyond what most can afford.

Although Congress passed an extension of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, the bill did not include COBRA subsidy coverage, like past bill extensions. The COBRA subsidy needs to be brought up as a separate piece of legislation, but it is unclear what bill, if any, will include an extension of the COBRA subsidy made available through the Recovery Act.

Please contact your members of Congress today and urge them to extend the COBRA subsidy. For more information on the COBRA subsidy please read a brief put together by Wider Opportunities for Women.

FMAP Funding Still in Jeopardy-Congress May Vote Today

It has been almost a month since the Governor signed Pennsylvania's state budget, yet the potential for an $850 million hole remains as federal funding has yet to be approved. The Senate may vote on FMAP today, but even if they approve the funding, the House must also vote on the bill. They will not be back in session until September.

This funding would come from the extension of the federal percentage of matching funds for state Medicaid expenditures, known as the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP). The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 enhanced the FMAP contribution for states through December 2010.

If Congress fails to approve the FMAP funding, the Governor and legislators will have to find another way to balance the budget, which will likely require cuts in funding for critical human services.

If you believe this funding is important, please contact your federal legislators today and urge them to extend FMAP. Below is a sample message. Please feel free to add your own stories and thoughts about why this funding is so important.

Dear


As a member of your district, I am writing today to urgently ask you to continue the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for states in the coming year. Pennsylvania recently passed a state budget that included $850 million in FMAP funding that has not yet been passed by Congress. With the additional funding, the General Assembly was able to limit the cuts that were made to programs that truly help Pennsylvanians during this particularly difficult time, such as adult literacy and education, job training, child care, health care, and other supports vital to success in this economy.


Please continue to support workers, families, and children by passing the FMAP extension and ensuring critical programs are available for Pennsylvanians.

State

adultBasic Extended 6 Months

adultBasic is an affordable health care option for adults who have recently lost health coverage and meet certain income guidelines. Participants pay $36 a month and co-pays ranging from $10 to $50 for doctor and hospital visits. In Pennsylvania, more than 40,000 are receiving the full benefits of the program, while the waitlist stands at over 380,000.

This program was set to end on December 31, 2010, when a law requiring financial support from insurance providers will expire, however, it has now been extended until June 30, 2011. While this is great news for people on adultBasic, there will still be a large gap between the time when adultBasic ends and the state exchanges under health care reform begin in 2014.

Please continue your efforts to save adultBasic by signing a petition or sending a letter to the editor.

Information/Events

Community Forum on the New Health Care Law

Looking to show your support for health care reform?
Or maybe you're confused about what's really in this new law..

The Pennsylvania Health Access Network and FamiliesUSA invite you attend a Community Forum on Health Care Reform with Congressman Joe Sestak (D-7)

Congressman Sestak and a national policy expert from Families USA will talk you through how health care reform will impact individuals, families, physicians, the economy, small businesses and more. There will also be an opportunity to ask your questions, so don't leave home without them!

Join us at The First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, 2125 Chestnut Street Tuesday, August 3rd promptly at 11:00 AM.
Doors open at 10:30. Please RSVP today!

Have an Idea for the Older American's Act? Add it to The Exchange

The National Council on Aging has developed a Web site called The Exchange and is inviting everyone in the aging field to post ideas to help shape the next Older Americans Act, due for reauthorization in 2011.

Congress passed the Older Americans Act in 1965. The Act established the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) and a network of state and local agencies dedicated to providing services to America's older population. The mission of the OAA is to help older adults age in their own homes and communities. The OAA funds critical services that keep older adults healthy, independent, and engaged. The services include meals, job training, senior centers, transportation, health promotion, and more.

The Exchange provides an opportunity to make your voice heard, and to share your innovative ideas on a national stage. Please go to The Exchange and post an idea, and/or comment and vote on the existing ideas.

Ask a Working Woman Survey 2010

Working women know the importance of a good job in a just economy, one where their pay keeps up with prices.

Working American and the AFL-CIO have put together a short survey that asks questions about the work place and work environment. This survey is a chance for working women to be heard and an opportunity to tell decision-makers about the challenges they face and their hopes for the future. Please take the time to complete this short survey.

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